Insect Repellent Plants and Herbs
Answered by: Inge Poot
Question from: Dion
Posted on: February 12, 2000

I will be going to live with my 7 year old daughter in a jungle in Costa Rica for about a year. I am avidly looking for herbs and plants that will grow in that particular climate and humidity that have insect repellent properties.

Any of the lemon scented geraniums may help, such as citrosa scented geranium. Fleas are supposed to be repelled by rue. Oil of vetiver grass repels fliescoakroaches, lice and bedbugs. Patchouli, santolina and southernwood repel clothes moths.

Neem oil repels most insects. Pennyroyal and Jamaican mint may too. French and Mexican marigolds also repel mosquitoes. West African basil rubbed on is said to repel insects. Bay laurel leaves amongst woolens is said to repel clothes mothes.

Citronella grass oil is an insect repellent.

Pyrethrum is a good killer of flying insects, but it is only rated to zone 9 ie not the tropics. Similarely, costmary leaves repel insects that eat books, but it is only rated to zone 8. Lavender oil repels clothes mothes, but it is only rated to zone 9 for the most heat tolerant cultivars. You might succed with Spanish lavender.

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